SNOOKER: Mark Allen to be seeded at World Championships

Mark Allen. � Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Mark Allen. � Matt Mackey / Press Eye

Mark Allen will not have to qualify for the World Championship as he is assured of his place in the top 16 of the world rankings for the Crucible Theatre.

The Masters champion faced the prospect of having to play the three-round qualifiers but will now be the last of the 16 seeds for the first-round draw.

Defeats for Jack Lisowski and Tom Ford in the China Open quarter-finals meant Allen will play in Sheffield.

The Antrim man could face world number one Mark Selby in the second round.

Allen lost 6-5 to Welshman Mark Williams in the last 16 of the China Open in Beijing, having beaten Noppon Saengkham of Thailand and China’s Yan Bingtao in his opening two matches.

Ford or Lisowski could have moved into the top 16 if they had won the £225,000 first prize in Beijing.

Allen reached the semi-finals of the World Championship back in 2009 but has failed to move beyond the second round of the tournament in his last six attempts.

The event will be staged from 21 April to 7 May.